Nope, no excuses. With my new work schedule, I have been busy trying to find time to ride and accomplish all the extras like blogging. Now with the time change, I think I am going to have to give up riding altogether. Man, I used to get all the time I needed to train. Now all I get is one day a week. You can't win expert races by training one day a week. Never the less, I will continue to show up to the remaining three races, all the while crossing my fingers that I can pull off strong enough finishes to take home another state tittle.
It has been a while since my last post, and I apologize, so let me update you on the last two races.
Let's start with the race at Haile's Trails, Newberry, Florida. Awesome trail, one of my favorite race courses. The track it based around a few old rock quarries, two of which you actually ride down into. The race loop is always between five and six miles long and it is super fast! With a strong line up in the Pro/Expert field, I had a feeling it was going to be a fun race. Was I right? You betcha! It was for me anyway. Right off the start it was attack after attack for the first half of the race. The second half was only different in that the attacks were thrown with a little less enthusiasm. With three of us off the front and a hard charging Bob McCarty a mear thirty seconds behind, the last lap wasn't looking too pretty. What have I learned about ugly situations in racing? Attack. So, I did. And what was the outcome? I was able to ditch my two partners and maintain my thirty second lead over Mr. McCarty.
Ok, so you heard about my victorious race at Haile's Trails, so now it's time to hear about my, oh how to put it, not so victorious race at Alafia River State Park. I know what your thinking. OH MY GOSH!! RYAN LOST A RACE!?! ....What? That isn't what you were thinking? Well, now I feel like an idiot for even pretending to be able to read minds. Either way, here is my story and I am sticking to it.
Lap one, Ryan gets a bad start (go figure) but makes it up to third by the end of the lap. Lap two, Ryan attacks, just testing the waters and realizes (unfortunately) that the current is still rather strong. Lap three, Ryan is passed (no big deal) and rides the wheel of a local guy (Kevin Hoffman). Lap four, Ryan passes the local guy back but is then passed by another local guy (Drew Edsall) and Ryan's teammate (Victor Alber), only to realize the he can't hold their pace down a particular trail (oh boy, this isn't good) and is forced to make up a lot of ground in a short time. Finish of lap four, Ryan wasn't able to make up all the time he lost (ouch, his pride is hurt) and rolls through the finish line in second place, .06 of a minute behind Victor.
Was that confusing? Good. You know, someone asked me after the race, and I can't remember who it was, if I was upset about losing. Heck no! Why should I be? I gave all I had to give and it just wasn't enough. Props to Victor for out racing me, just watch out in Miami, buddy! Hehehe.
Now, for the topic I really wanted to talk about... Razorback. As most of you know, Razorback is closed. This past weekend was the final farewell party. I guess it really is true that you just don't know what you have until it's gone. Man, I really miss that place already. If you weren't at the party Saturday night, you missed one heck of a good time. Even though most of the stories we share will be about that night and the fun we had, what I will remember most was my last ride on Sunday afternoon. I went out for a fun lap Sunday morning and did my best to pretend that I would see plenty more of the trails I was riding. All the while, in the back of my mind was the lap I had planned to take later on that day. The lap that would be my last. That lap came, to my dismay, at 12:30pm. About thirty of the best riders in the state showed up. Led by Rodney Reber, the King of Razorback, I felt honored to follow along as second in command. That lap was amazing. If I spoke at all, I didn't do it consciously. My mind was in a million different places. Every root, tree, rock, curve, bump... heck, everything I saw along the way reminded me of past races. I was reminded of victories and defeats, fears I had overcome and fears that still haunted me, the fun I had riding down the hills and the pain I endured climbing back up. When that lap was finished, so was I. I was exhausted, both emotionally and physically.
After a few hours into my pity-party, my mood did a 180. Instead of feeling homeless and lost, I got a new since of pride. I was one of the lucky ones. I was fortunate enough to have known and loved Razorback. I was there when it was at its prime. For any of the new riders that come along, Razorback is nothing more than a legend that the "old guys" talk about. At the tender age of 22, I consider myself privileged be one of the "old guys".